About Cambodia

Visas

Cambodia has very liberal visa regulations. From overseas, visas to the Kingdom can be obtained from embassies, foreign missions and consulates. Thirty-day tourist and business visas are readily available upon arrival through Pochentong International Airport and Siem Reap International Airport for US$30 and US$35 respectively. Passport size photos are required. Work visas are required for full time employment at International Schools.

Currency

Riel is the Cambodian currency. The exchange rate to the US Dollar has hovered from 3900 to 4100 within the last six years, with the usual peg at a flat rate of 4,000. It has been a relatively stable currency to use. The US Dollar is also liberally accepted.

Health

Although vaccination is not official required, it is recommended that travelers get vaccinated for cholera, typhoid, tetanus, and hepatitis A and B if you are going to the provinces.

 

Sight Seeing and Travel

The best and most inexpensive way to take in the sights and sounds of Phnom Penh is by Tuk Tuk (motorbike driven carriage). Phnom Penh boasts a wide range of excellent restaurants, offering cuisine from around the world. The Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers converge in Phnom Penh - the riverfront is a popular tourist area and it is relatively inexpensive to orgainse an evening boat cruise on the river.

There are several tour operators in Phnom Penh who offer tours to other parts of the country. Most of them also provide cars and mini-vans for rent.

Coastal towns, offering access to pristine island getaways, are a two-and-a-half to four hour drive from the capitol city. Siem Reap, gateway to the famous Temple ruins of Angkor, is a 6 to 8 hour drive from the capitol. In the northern parts of Cambodia the traveller can explore what remains of Cambodia's tropical forests and spend time at Elephant sanctuaries.

Transportation

From Pochentong International Airport to anywhere in Phnom Penh will cost you $10.00 per trip (about 8 kilometers to the city centre and riverside). Getting around the city is usually done by 'tuk tuk' or 'motodup' (sitting passenger on a motorbike).

Communication

In the last few years, prices on mobile phone services have gone down sharply therefore almost everyone carries one presently. There are five companies providing mobile phones services.

Business Hours


Government offices are open from 7:30AM to 5:00PM but for most banks the hours are 8:00AM to 3:30PM on weekdays. However, most businesses open daily from 7:00AM to 8:00PM.

PHNOM PENH CITY: HISTORY

Phnom Penh was founded by a rich old lady named Penh, who house was not far from the river bank, on a knoll on the eastern side of small hill. One day, when the water had overflowed she went down to the river bank and found a large Koki tree drifting down the river. She immediately called her neighbors to get into a boat to catch that tree. After taking it to the bank, she cleaned out the mud and discovered four bronze Buddha statues and one stone Buddha in the hollow tree. Lady Penh and her neighbors exulted in their discovery. They brought all the statues to Lady Penh’s house. Then she asked the people to build a small cottage for them in front of her house and to build up a hill (Phnom) nearby. After that, she had the Koki sawed up wood to make a sanctuary. In 1372, as a result of the firm support and assistance of her neighbors, Lady Penh built up a sanctuary on the “Phnom” and covered it with grass called “Sbov Phlaing”. The sanctuary housed the four bronze statues, whereas the stone statue, she put at the foot of the “Phnom” to the east. When the work was finished, the monks were invited to settle at the foot of the “Phnom” to the west. Then, they called it “Wat Phnom Daun Penh” (old lady Penh’s Pagoda).

In 1434, King Ponhea Yat moved the capital from Bassac City (in ancient Kampong Cham Province) to Phnom Daun Penh. The sanctuary built by Lady Penh had been removed, but the King decided to construct a new one. Then he tried to build up the hill and constructed a brick stupa on top. After the inauguration, the King named the hill “Preah Chedei Paravata”, but nowadays it is simply called Wat Phnom. The first establishment did not last long, the capital moved from one place to Phnom Daun Penh again and remains up to the present time. Phnom Penh covers an area of 290 kilometer square with 2 million inhabitants. It is a major industrial, commercial, communication, and tourism center for home and world services. Valuable tropical products can be found here including seafood, fresh water food, delicious fruit, handicrafts and articles. The city offers tourists a lot of modern hotels and restaurants with diversified service.

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